Self-defense sessions cultivate confidence

The University holds several women’s self-defense workshops every year to teach women how to get out of potentially dangerous situations and boost their self confidence.

Campus Police Sgt. John Shumaker has been in charge of these sessions for approximately 20 years and said he believes self-defense workshops help women in several different ways, including learning to defend against a forceful attack when they’re alone and how to get out of uncomfortable social situations.

Even though powerful strikes are taught as defense mechanisms, Shumaker said the workshops teach women that their first priority should be to avoid dangerous situations.

Shumaker said women who participate in these workshops will learn a plethora of beneficial, long-lasting skills.

“It’s something they are going to learn and take because they are not going to stay in Bowling Green the rest of their lives,” Shumaker said.

Shumaker said he hopes the workshops will build confidence and make the women better able to defend themselves.

“I would like to think that they have a little more confidence,” Shumaker said. “Hopefully, somewhere, somebody has used what we have taught them to get out of a situation.”

The workshops are based on the National Self-Defense Institute program, which is based out of Florida.

According to NSDI’s Web site, its women’s self defense program is called S.A.F.E., and it emphasizes that “90 percent of self defense is awareness, risk reduction and avoiding confrontation, and only 10 percent is physical.”

Senior Nicole Billington said the program will not only make her feel safer, but also help with her career.

“It’s going to help me with my criminal justice career, and it will be useful for training purposes,” Billington said.

Shumaker will be holding free workshops 6 to 8 p.m. Tuesday and Wednesday in room 314 of the Union. He advises participants to wear loose, comfortable clothing.


– One out of every four college women polled was sexually assaulted during their four years of college.

– Every 2 1/2 minutes, somewhere in America, someone is sexually assaulted.

– One in six American women are victims of sexual assault.

– About 44 percent of rape victims are under the age of 18, 80 percent of rape victims are under age 30.

– In the past five years, an average of 59 percent of sexual assaults have gone unreported to police.

– The most commonly used strategy for protecting oneself from rape is a combination of screaming and physical resistance.

– 84 percent of women who are raped know the assailant.

– 57 percent of rapes occur on a date.

– 75 percent of male students and 55 percent of female students involved in a date rape case had been drinking or using drugs.

Statistics were taken from the Rape Abuse and Incest National Network’s Web site,, and from the University police department’s Women’s Self-Defense Training pamphlet.